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The Life & Times of the Thunderbolt Kid Audiobook

The Life & Times of the Thunderbolt Kid

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Publisher's Summary

Bill Bryson's hilarious memoir of growing up in middle America in the Fifties, complete, unabridged, and read by the author.

Born in 1951 in the middle of the United States, Des Moines, Iowa, Bill Bryson is perfectly positioned to mine his memories of a totally all-American childhood for 24 carat memoir gold. Like millions of his generation, Bill Bryson grew up with a rich fantasy life as a superhero. In his case, he ran around the house wearing a jersey with a thunderbolt on it and a towel round his neck that served as his cape, leaping tall buildings in a single bound and vanquishing evildoers (in his head) as The Thunderbolt Kid.

Using his old fantasy life as a springboard, Bill Bryson recreates the life of his family in the 1950s in all its transcendent normality. In a period that saw the inexorable rise of television, the opening of Disneyland, the testing of the atomic bomb, and the explosion of choice in everything from food to cars, Bill Bryson's days followed in reassuringly cosy succession, enlivened by modest triumphs and disasters.

Warm and laugh-out-loud funny, The Thunderbolt Kid is full of Bill Bryson's inimitable, pitch-perfect observations and this unabridged recording contains every single amusing anecdote and amazing fact. Nothing is left out, so you can enjoy the whole book in its entirety, read by Bill Bryson himself.

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What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (222 )
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4.3 (119 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Robyn 12-05-11
    Robyn 12-05-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Delightful and entertaining"

    I enjoyed this very much, chuckled all the way through and was almost sorry when it finished. It was a bonus having the author read his own work. Thank you for sharing your childhood adventures with your reading public!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Greg Dublin, Ireland 11-29-11
    Greg Dublin, Ireland 11-29-11
    ratings
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    1
    1
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    Story
    "A pleasure"
    What made the experience of listening to The Life & Times of the Thunderbolt Kid the most enjoyable?

    Not been American


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The father, proving fathers are the same world wide


    What about Bill Bryson’s performance did you like?

    from the horse's mouth


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No, styled that one could dip and out, therefore, prolonging the pleasure


    Any additional comments?

    Marvelous insight into growing up in small town America in the 50/60's

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rajesh Johanneburg, South Africa 12-12-11
    Rajesh Johanneburg, South Africa 12-12-11 Member Since 2016

    Legal Thrillers, crime, fiction. humor and a bit of management sprinkled with some self improvement. All through Audible.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    266
    ratings
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    71
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    "Only Americans Please"

    If it is funny, it is only for the American. It is not like his earlier books. Not a classic global book which everyone can enjoy.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Leslie Grey McCawley 01-16-07 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Too many icky bits"

    I have enjoyed Bryson's other books but this one is an in-your-face reminder of how actually disgusting little boys can be - his loving and graphic descriptions of the things boys get up to had me almost sick; I had to stop listening. Some listeners may delight in remembering the sheer ickiness of childhood experience, but I didn't.

    1 of 5 people found this review helpful
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  • chris
    London, United Kingdom
    10/26/06
    Overall
    "Stupid grin on my face"

    I've just spent several happy hours with a stupid grin on my face, not to mention laughing out loud (and I'm not the sort of person to laugh out loud), listening to this genuinely funny narration. Bill Bryson has a wonderful way with words - both the way he's written this and the way he's narrated it - and you don't have to be a child of the fifties to enjoy this story about childhood and 'why grown-ups are not to be trusted'. This is quite the best thing I've listened to so far in my 16 months of membership and I just didn't want it to end, so now I'm off to download some more Bryson titles...

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Lee
    7/17/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A nostalgic view of childhood"

    Bryson narrates his own novel like a much loved uncle retelling stories of his youth. The book covers his childhood during the 50's and 60's in rural America. It gives an insight into the hope that filled a nation and how this changed as pivotal moments in American history unravel. These are captured from a child's eye with great wonder. Part of the beauty of the book is it captures the human condition at childhood. There's also some great moments of humour that made me chuckle. I wouldn't normally read a biography, but found this an entertaining read.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Daniel
    7/13/15
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    Performance
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    "Brilliant"

    An incredible, engrossing portrait of different time. Bryson succeeds as ever in holding your attention throughout.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Elizabeth
    Maisons-Laffitte, France
    9/1/07
    Overall
    "I used to be a Bill Bryson fan!"

    Yes, even us Senior Citizens join fan clubs, or the modern equivalent thereof, which is now registering on an author's website in order to receive newsletters, etc. Bill Bryson's website is the only one I have joined as to date I have enjoyed his books so much, but now I shall be cancelling my enrolment.
    I hope, however, to enjoy reading and maybe even listening to, future books by this author but not those which he chooses to read himself. Before purchasing this particular title, I had listened to many Bill Bryson audio books, all read by William Roberts. I just wish this one had been read by him as well.
    In choosing to read his own work (or being encouraged to do so by his publishers) Bill Bryson has, I believe, made a cardinal error. His intonation and delivery rushes along in a manner which I think is difficult for those with an 'English' ear, i.e. one used to more word stress, to listen to comfortably. Some may describe Bryson's reading style as 'racy'. I wouldn't: it's poor. His reading left me wondering why this title is invariably in Audible's best seller list. I'll just have to buy a hard copy of the book and read it for myself as I'm sure it's cleverly and expertly written as Bill Bryson's books usually are. But I can't judge it on the basis of this disappointing presentation.

    13 of 17 people found this review helpful
  • Letty
    3/28/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Bill Brysons best book"

    A wonderful, funny and in parts moving book. I loved Bill Bryson narration....just perfect.
    I have listened to it twice now which I haven't ever done with an audible book before but this is well worth it.....loved every minute.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • martin
    MACCLESFIELD, United Kingdom
    11/24/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "HOME RUN!"
    Where does The Life & Times of the Thunderbolt Kid rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Top 10 as I,m a bit of a Bryson fan!


    What other book might you compare The Life & Times of the Thunderbolt Kid to, and why?

    non in my collection


    Which character – as performed by Bill Bryson – was your favourite?

    His father...especially when he caught his parents having sex...very funny!


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Its doable...just


    Any additional comments?

    Ive yet to find an Author with a more engaging style Than Bryson. Just love his style of narration!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Mrs
    9/3/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "My heart broke a little when it ended"

    A wonderful book made all the more special for the author reading it. I laughed often and very nearly cried. Bravo

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Paul
    7/4/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fantastic"

    Extremely funny and well read. Hard to find another book quite like it. The right sort of length.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • C. Wright
    Glasgow
    4/16/08
    Overall
    "Wrong Choice"

    I agree with Elizabeth. I was surprised that such an unassuming man like Bill Bryson should have chosen to narrate this audio book. If he was persuaded by others then they were wrong. A narrator can make or break an audio book and bryson's nervous manner didn't add anything. I remember Stephen King saying it is unwise for authors to narrate their own books when trained actors can do a far better job. This was the case here. Having said all that I still liked it and look forward to more of Bryson's work. PS Note to the publishers. If you decide to ask William Roberts to narrate this book I will buy it despite already owning this one.

    5 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Danielle
    Broendby StrandDenmark
    11/14/06
    Overall
    "Not as funny as his other books"

    I have every book published by Bill Bryston, and was eagerly waiting for his latest masterpiece. While it is interesting to learn about my favourite author's boyhood pranks, it's not nearly as witty and funny as his previous books. Put it this way, I didn't get the usual funny looks or people swapping places away from me on the train due to uncontrollable snorts of laughter.

    5 of 8 people found this review helpful

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